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My Robot, Makey 


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My Robot, Makey 

Written By: Kris Magri 


Bandsaw (1) 
Bending brake (1) 
Center punch (1) 
Computer (1) 
Deburring tool (1) 
Drafting square (1) 
Drill bit (1) 
Drill press (1) 

Foam tape (1) 
Fractional drill bit set (1) 
Hammer (1) 
Hole saw (1) 
Nail (1) 

Needlenose pliers (1) 
Nibblertool (1) 
Pop rivet tool (1) 
Printer (1) 


• Aluminum sheet (1) 

• Micro Aileron System (1) 

• Battery (2) 

• Battery snap connector (2) 
or RadioShack #270-324 

• Jumper wires (1) 

Or cut your own from solid core wire 

• Du-Bro mini E/Z connectors (1) 

• Electrical Tape (1) 

• Paint (1) 

/ used Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 
Apple Red Gloss #1966. 

• Arduino microcontroller (1) 

The Diecimila version will also work. 

• Dual motor driver board (1) 

• Cellophane tape (1) 

• ProtoShield kit (1) 

• Plastic (1) 

• Lego tires (2) 

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My Robot, Makey 

Safety goggles (1) 
Screwdriver (1) 
Soldering iron (1) 
Step drill (1) 


Vise clamp (1) 

Wood block (1) 

Heat-shrink tubing (1) 

Machine screw (8) 

Sheet metal screws (4) 

Nut (8) 

Lock washers (4) 

Pop rivets (2) 

On/off switch (1) 

Servo extension wire (12") 

to plug into the rangefinder. not the 


Male header (2) 

Break apart a 10- pin header. 

Servomotor (1) 

Capacitor (2) 

Resistor (2) 

Metal ball caster (1) 
SparkFun #ROB-08909 

Battery holder clips (2) 


Scrap will do. 

Gearmotor mount (2) 

Mini breadboard (1) 

for ProtoShield: also SparkFun #PRT- 


Drive motors (2) 
or Solarbotics #GM9 

Ping rangefinder (1) 

RadioShack part #276-031 or Maker 

Shed #MKPX5 

© Make Projects 

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My Robot, Makey 

Makey is an autonomous robot that I've programmed to follow objects around and avoid 
obstacles. It has a fully enclosed chassis and uses tank steering, where separate DC 
motors power each of the 2 drive wheels. 

Control comes from an Arduino microcontroller and a servomotor moves Makey's head, 
which carries a single ultrasonic rangefinder. Makey constantly turns its head right and left 
to acquire differential ranging data, adding to its personality. 

With different Arduino programming, the hardware would support mapping and other 
activities, and a few hardware mods would enable Makey to compete in Mini-Sumo, a 
popular event in robotics competitions. 

© Make Projects Page 3 of 22 

My Robot, Makey 

The body consists of 2 pieces of 
sheet aluminum. You can cut, drill, 
and bend one piece at a time, or do 
both at once to minimize switching 
tool stations; see Step 5. 

Download the 5 Makey templates 
from and 
print them out full-size. Cut out the 
base cutting template, and cut 
holes in the blank area of each 
panel. Securely tape the template 
to the aluminum sheet with double- 
stick tape on the back and regular 
tape over the holes. 

CAUTION: Always wear 
protective eyewear when 
cutting metal. 


With a band saw, cut the aluminum 
roughly to size around the 
template, then cut the perimeter 
just outside the lines. 

TIP: For inside corners, first 
cut a gradual curve close to 


the corner, then back up and cut 
into the corner's point from each 

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My Robot, Makey 

• Use a center punch and small hammer to punch through the template at the 17 crosshairs 
(for drilling in the next step) and at the corners of the rectangles around the large holes. 

• Drill the holes at the crosshairs following the sizes marked on the template. Remove (but 
keep) the paper first, to line up on the punch marks more accurately. 

• Clamp the metal tightly onto scrap wood, and wherever possible use the unibit, which 
makes cleaner holes in thin metal than a twist drill. 

• For the starter holes inside the rectangles, you may need to adjust the diameter smaller or 
larger to reach the rectangle edges. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Finish the rectangular holes with the nibbler tool, cutting away until a rectangle appears. If 
you want, you can retape the template to see the rectangles more clearly. Then file the 
edges smooth. 

Use a handheld deburring tool to remove burrs from the metal's edges. To deburr the small 
holes, push the point of a larger drill bit over the holes and twist it by hand. 

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My Robot, Makey 

• Cut out the base-bending template and attach it to the other side of the aluminum with 
double-stick tape, aligning the holes and rectangles. 

• Insert the metal in the brake with the new template facing up, and make all indicated bends 
at 90°. 

• First bend the tabs on each long side of the metal, then bend up the sides of the body. 

• For each bend, go up gradually, using a drafting square between small bends to check the 

For the body's top cover, repeat 
Steps 1-4 using the top cutting and 
bending templates. 

Now you've got one sweet chassis 
any robot would be proud to wear! 

© Make Projects 

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My Robot, Makey 

• Mount the drive motors in the base 
using 4-40 x 1" screws through the 
small holes. The motor shafts 
should poke out of the larger holes. 

• Secure the screws with lock 
washers and nuts on the motor 
side. The base is small, so you 
may need needlenose pliers for 

Step 7 

• Use a 2" hole saw in a drill press to 
cut wheels out of some scrap 
wood. I used 1 x8 shelving and my 
finished wheels were 3/4" thick by 
about 1.8" in diameter. Clamp the 
wood, and go slowly to avoid 
stalling the drill press. 

• Center a wheel hub on each 
wooden wheel and use a small nail 
to mark 2 of the hole locations. Drill 
through the locations with a 1/8" 

• Paint the wheels. I love the Rust- 
Oleum red gloss; it is super thick, 
brightly colored, covers great, and 
cleans up easily. Try not to get too 
much paint in the mounting holes. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Drill through 2 opposing holes in the hub with a #43 drill, then use a 4-40 tap to create 
threads in each hole. 

Use two 4-40 x 1" screws to attach the wheels to the hubs from the outside. Don't 

Install tires on the wheels, orienting them with the larger diameter facing out. Then snap 
each wheel assembly into its motor shaft. 

• Attach the skidder to the bottom of 
the base using the screws, nuts, 
and the thinner of the 2 spacers it 
comes with. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 10 — Add the power and control 

Cut a plate out of hard plastic following the mounting plate template printed in Step 1 . 
Punch and drill it as indicated, then test-fit the plate into the robot body, resting on the 
motors, and file as needed for a snug fit. 

Use two 4-40 x 3/8" screws to fasten the Arduino board to the plate from the underside, 
securing it with nuts on top. The USB connector should line up with the notch in the tab. 

Pop-rivet the battery holders into the body through the holes in the left side tabs. Rivet 
from the outside so the ugly side of the rivet faces the battery. 

Step 11 

• Solder together the ProtoShield following the manufacturer's instructions, linked at 
http://makezine.eom/1 9/makey . 

• Use the band saw to slice off the board's BlueSMiRF header, which connects to Bluetooth 
wireless modules. Wasn't that fun? The header won't fit in the robot and we don't use it. 

• Stick the mini breadboard onto the ProtoShield and plug the ProtoShield onto the Arduino. 
If you are using a Diecimila, set its power jumper to EXT. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 12 — Add the sensor and servo 

• This project uses the shorter of the 
2-arm horns that come with the 
HS-55 servo. Use a 1/16" bit to drill 
out the outermost holes in this 

• Press-fit the metal pieces of the 2 
Du-Bro Mini E/Z Connectors into 
the servo horn holes from the front, 
and secure them in back with the 
black rubber pieces. 

• Thread the control rods from the 
Du-Bro Aileron System through the 
connectors and screw them down 
using the included screws. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 13 

• Here's a tricky part. Plug the servo 
extension wire into the Ping sensor 
board. Bend the control rods from 
the horn in opposite directions 90°, 
to reach mounting holes at opposite 
corners of the board. 

• The rods will point up from the 
servo, allowing room for the 
extension plug, and the sensor 
should face out. Slip the pushrod 
housing that came in the Du-Bro 
package over the rods to avoid 
short-circuiting the sensor, then 
secure the rods to the board using 
the connectors from the aileron 
control kit. 

• Slip the pushrod housing that came 
in the Du-Bro package over the 
rods to avoid short-circuiting the 
sensor, then secure the rods to the 
board using the connectors from 
the aileron control kit. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 14 

• Thread the wires from the servo 
and sensor down through the 
rectangular cutout in the body's top 

• Fit the servo in the cutout, and 
fasten using two 1-72 x 1/4" 
screws and nuts through the holes 
on either side. Clip the excess 
control rod length. 

• Screw the horn onto the servo and 
use a small screwdriver to adjust it 
so that Makey's eyes face forward. 

© Make Projects 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 15 — Connect and test the drive motors 

• The contact tabs on our inexpensive motors are fragile, so their connections must be 
strong and vibration-proof. 

• Remove the motors and Arduino board from the robot body. 

• Cut 2 red and 2 black 12" leads out of the stranded wire and strip 1" off an end of each. 
Without soldering, wrap each red/black pair around the round back end of the motor (for 
strain relief), then run the wires along the top and stick them on with a sandwich of double- 
stick foam tape. Don't cover any of the holes in the motor body, and leave room for the 
mounting nuts. 

• Thread and solder the capacitor leads through the holes in each motor's connector tabs. 
This requires innovative bending with needlenose pliers. Then solder the motor wires to the 
capacitor leads, not the motor connectors, making a strong joint. Clip the extra lead length. 
Then cover the capacitor and the wrapped-around wires with black tape, and use more 
foam tape to cover the pointy bits. 

• Twist the free ends of the motor wire pairs together; this also reduces noise on the circuit. 
Mark the motors as Left and Right. 

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My Robot, Makey 

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My Robot, Makey 

• Solder and heat-shrink short solid- 
core jumper wires to the drive 
motor and battery snap leads (this 
lets you plug them into the 
breadboard). Route the motor wires 
through the big holes in the plastic 
mounting plate. 

• Plug the motor driver over the 
central trench of the breadboard 
and wire it to the drive motors and 
one battery, following the 
schematic. (Recall that on each 
side of the trench, holes in the 
same row are connected.) Use 
short jumpers to keep the wires 
close to the breadboard, as big 
loopy wires won't fit inside the 

• Download and install the Arduino 
software from and 
download the 5 project test 
programs from 

http://makezine.eom/1 9/makey . 
Hook the Arduino to your computer 
via USB, and if it's a Diecimila, 
move its power jumper to "USB." 

• To test the motors, run the program 

01_Test_Motor_Rotation. The 

left motor should run forward and 
back, followed by the right motor. If 
not, check your wiring. Next, run 

02_Test_Motor_Speeci. The 

motors should start slow, speed 
up, and then reverse direction. 
Otherwise check wiring to pins D1 1 

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My Robot, Makey 

and D3. 

Step 17 — Connect and test the servo and sensor. 

Replace the motors and Arduino 
assembly in the robot body. Plug a 
3-pin right-angle header into the 
breadboard, plug the servomotor 
cable into it, and wire the servo: 
black to GND, red to +5V, and 
yellow to Arduino pin D10. 

Plug the other 3-pin header into the 
breadboard, then plug in and wire 
the rangefinder: black to GND, red 
to +5V, and white to Arduino pin 

Step 18 

• Run the program 03_Test_Servo_Center, which centers the servo, then unscrew and 

realign the servo horn as close to center as possible. You can't get it exactly in the middle, 
because the teeth on the shaft won't allow it, but we can nudge it later. 

• Run 04_Test_Servo_Sweep, which should make the servo slowly rotate from one side to 

• To test the sonar rangefinder, run 05_Test_Sensor_Distance and then click on the 

serial monitor icon in the Arduino software. You should see distance readings spitting out, 
and if you move your hand in front of the sensor, the readings should change. If your 
readings are stuck at Ocm or 255cm or otherwise incorrect, check your wiring, and make 
sure the sensor isn't plugged in backward. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 19 

• Now we can connect the Arduino 
power. Unpack the Arduino one last 
time. To add the on/off switch, 
solder the unused battery snap's 
red wire to one side of the switch 
and a solid red wire to the other. 
Also solder a solid black wire to the 
battery's black wire. 

• Thread the wires out through the 
rectangular hole in the side of the 
robot body, and then press in the 
switch. Orient the switch with the 
"1" label at the top and fit it through 
the hole. It's a tight fit and you may 
need pliers. 

• Wire the red lead from the switch 
to the RAW pin on the ProtoShield 
(which connects to Vin on the 
Arduino) and the black lead from 
the battery snap to the 
ProtoShield's GND pin. If you're 
using the Diecimila, move its 
Power jumper back to EXT. 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 20 — Button it up. 

• Now that all your electronics are working, carefully put everything back into the body 
without knocking loose any wires. Install the batteries and prop the robot up on something 
so it doesn't run off the table. The USB programming jack should line up with the cutout in 
the body. 

• Reload and run the test program oi_Test_Motor_Rotation, noting that the front of the 

robot is where the USB jack and skidder are. If the motors rotate the wrong way, check 
your wiring to pins AOutl, A0ut2, BOutl, B0ut2, Aln1, Aln2, Bln1, and Bln2. You may 
also need to reverse the motor connections. 

• Rerun the other test programs to make sure all the wiring is still OK. When satisfied, fold 
up the servo and sensor wires and tuck them into the base. Slide the top cover on, and 
install 4 sheet metal screws to hold it on. You're done! 

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My Robot, Makey 

Step 21 — Robot Programming 

© Make Projects Page 20 of 22 

My Robot, Makey 

Sometimes when you're done 
building, you're done building — but 
you're never done programming. 
This is where you get to be 

In the code, you control the motors 
by using the digitaiwrite and 

analogWrite functions to pass 

values to pins on the motor driver, 
3 for each motor. One pin takes a 
number 0-255 and sets the current 
sent to the motor, which 
determines its speed. The other 2 
pins take binary values that set 
each motor contact to either high or 
low voltage. This sets the motor's 
direction (when only one contact is 

• void Forward ( ) 

You can write similar routines for 
the more basic motions, such as 

Backward (both motors 

backward), Spin_Lef t (right 

wheel forward, left wheel back), 
Arc_Lef t (right wheel forward, left 

wheel stopped), and so on. The 
Arduino programming environment 
makes it easy to experiment with 
code and load new programs to 
your robot. 

Another fun behavior is object 
avoidance, which runs the loop: 
Move forward a bit, then take a 
distance reading. If the object is 
too close, take evasive action, 

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My Robot, Makey 

such as back up and turn. Repeat. 

Step 22 — Robot Mini-Sumo 

• In a Mini-Sumo match, 2 autonomous robots are placed in a ring painted black with a white 

• With narrower wheels, like the GM Series plastic wheels from Solarbotics , Makey would fit 
within the maximum size and weight allowable for Mini-Sumo: a 10cm-square footprint and 
500 grams. You would probably need another sensor pointed down to see the ring, but the 
Arduino has room for several more inputs. 

For more information about robot programming and behavior, I recommend Robotics with 
the 6oe-6of from Parallax, Inc. ( ). 

For the Makey project schematic, templates, and code, see 
http://makezine.eom/1 9/makey . 

To see videos of Makey in action, visit http://makezine.eom/1 9/makey . 

This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 19 . 


MAKE's Arduino Superpage 

Related Posts on Make: Online: 

Intern's Corner: How I Designed Makey 

Intern's Corner: How I Designed Makey. Part 2 

Young Makers Make Makey Robots 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-01 12:47:51 AM. 

© Make Projects Page 22 of 22